By Tyler Barker
September 20, 2022 - West Virginia coal production increased from the previous week by +0.9%. Production in the state’s NAPP region increased +2% and production in the CAPP region of the state decreased by -0.5% week over week. Compared to the same 36 weeks of 2021, year to date statewide coal production is up +5.8%. +4.7% in the state’s NAPP region and +7.1% in the CAPP region of the state.
U.S. coal production also decreased slightly week over week by -0.5%, with gains in the Appalachian and Interior coal regions being offset by a reduction in week over week production from the Western region. Production from the Appalachian coal basin increased +0.7%, Interior region coal production increased +4.6% and Western region production decreased -2.3%. Compared to the same time last year, U.S. coal production is up +4%. +1.4% in the Appalachian region, +2.2% in the Interior region and +5.8% in the Western coal region.
EIA reported spot prices for U.S. thermal coal increased for all three eastern coal regions. Northern Appalachian coal prices increased +21% (+$30.65 / ton), Central Appalachian coal increased +3% (+$5.75 / ton) and Illinois Basin coal increased +3.6% (+$6.96 / ton). Pricing for Powder River Basin coal decreased from the previous week by -0.3% (-$0.05 / ton) and Western Bituminous pricing declined -0.3% (-$0.15 / ton). Compared to the same week of 2021, Northern Appalachian coal prices are +202.1% higher, Central Appalachian, +211%, Illinois Basin, +457.8%, Powder River Basin, +36.1% and Western Bituminous, +44.7%. Average U.S. natural gas prices decreased from the previous week by -0.7%. Compared to the same week of 2021, average U.S. natural gas prices are up +101.8%.
According to date reported by West Virginia’s two class one railroad systems to the federal Surface Transportation Board, the average number of unit coal trains holding per day decreased week over week by -17.8% (-1.3 trains per day). Coal carloads in both class one systems for the entire Northern and Central Appalachian coal regions increased week over week by +2.1%.
River barge loadings of West Virginia coal increased from the previous week by +1.5%.
Domestic iron and steel production decreased week over week by -1.8% with furnace capacity utilization declining -1.8% from the previous week. Compared to the same 36 weeks of 2021, year to date U.S. iron and steel production is off -3.7% (-2.37 million tons) and cumulative furnace capacity utilization is down -0.9% from the same time last year.
U.S. electric generation increased from the previous week by +1.2%. Generation in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions increased by +0.8% and output in the Central Industrial region increased +5%. Compared to the same time last year, total U.S. electric generation is up +3.2%. Generation in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions is up +2% and output in the Central Industrial region is up +0.1%.
U.S. rail traffic increased slightly week over week +0.3%. Coal traffic declined week over week by -1.7%, steel making carloads decreased -4.5% and auto parts and finished autos traffic declined -5.4%. Compared to the same 36 weeks of 2021, year to date total U.S. rail traffic is off-2.7%. Coal carloads are up +2.7%, steelmaking traffic is off -6.9% and automaking carloads are at the same amount.